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Using Firefox for a faster, calmer and distraction-free internet (marko.fyi)
927 points by markosaric 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 359 comments



The post briefly mentions multi-account containers[1]. I have loved using them and regard them as a killer feature for Firefox. Very few websites support account switching. Google is probably the best example, and even then, I don't really want to log in to both my personal and work Gmail within the same session. But containers effectively and cleanly enable multiple sessions for all websites.

Like tabs so many years ago, it's the kind of feature that seems obvious in retrospect. I can't think of a hard technical reason why we couldn't have had container tabs a long time ago. I hope mobile and desktop OSes will one day implement the same feature for apps/programs.

Whoever was involved in coming up with the idea and with implementing it, thank you!

[1]: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/containers


I love containers, and use them heavily, but am disappointed they don't sync to all your computers like bookmarks and extensions. Every new machine, I get to start over on the 'always open this site in work container'


This. Please add this Firefox. For people who are anal that moving from machine to machine is the same container naming and ordering (for shortcuts to launch specific containers) is time consuming to redo by hand.

Beyond that - for container users I recently started using "Temporary Containers" [0] and it's an awesome use case for disposable containers where no browser interaction is associated. It's a fantastic use of containers.

[0] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/temporary-con...


I use Temporary Containers everywhere, and I think it's a great step forward in terms of privacy and security. I wish one day we could have a different IP and browser fingerprint per temporary container.


Do containers transfer if you sync the Firefox profile with rsync or something? I haven't tried yet but if I get a second machine I'd like to be able to do this.


yeah, that's the reason I stopped using them and switched to multiple profiles with syncing to different accounts.


I do the same, it works quite well. I still use multicontainer inside those though, 1 for social media and for everything else.


Containers still have quite a bad UX though. It’s OK to open a tab in the desired container and load Facebook, but whenever you leave Facebook via a link, it will stay in the same container. If you eventually end up on a website you want to be logged in to, you’ll have to manually switch to the right container again.

It seems like containers are a powerful concept with multiple different uses, but the UX for each of those uses would need to be different and at the moment it’s not optimised for any of them. Maybe there are extensions that can fix this for specific use cases but when I looked it seemed hard to work out which ones I’d want.


Is that not the point though? You don't want to expose to Facebook that you have a account on some 3rd party site and expose to some 3red party site you have a Facebook accoun.

You describe exactly what I would want and expect.


Do you mean that it would be exposed by the referrer? I guess so. It’s not clear whether the referrer is preserved anyway when you refresh the external page in a different container. In theory could the external page have a Facebook widget that would be able to see your Facebook account anyway? I’m not really sure, I don’t know enough about how cookies work across domains.

I feel like this is the point. It’s not really clear how to best use containers to protect your privacy; it feels like you have to understand a lot about how the web works and how Firefox works.


Beyond referrer, there are utm tags, unique URLs, fingerprinting, etc.


> It’s not really clear how to best use containers to protect your privacy

Do you think private browsing sessions are also unclear/have unintuitive UX? It seems like firefox containers are just private browsing sessions that you can close and re-open.


Private browsing is relatively simple - nothing is preserved. It’s similar but definitely easier to understand than containers, where you have _n_ containers, each with some subset of cookies representing your identities on various sites. Not only do you have to mentally keep track of what cookies are in each container and make sure to always open certain links in the right container, you also have to worry about unique URL signatures permanently leaking your identity between containers if you’re not careful, as mentioned in a sibling comment.


Right-click and "open in new container tab" gives you a choice of containers to open the link in, fwiw.


Might want to be careful with something like this, since facebook/google/etc decorate links with outward redirects for tracking purposes.


On the other side of this tracking, there are also URL parameters like fbclid, gclid, etc., that can tell the opened site where you came from and which post/content piece on that platform you came from. Additional extensions to remove these parameters are also necessary.


You can do this! Although admittedly the setup is kind of annoying / unintuitive. What you're looking for is the temporary containers extension - https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/temporary-container...


Yet these days facebook will be using IP tracking anyway, it won’t matter whether you’re logged in or not, in the other containers, if you’re just logged in once, they will know what sites you’re visiting, your browser fingerprint easily identify as you, even if you’re not logged into Facebook in those containers.


Ip tracking is worthless. Most people have half a dozen devices. I was actually shocked recently that I have 22 devices on my network. Then think about a relatively small business. There could be hundreds of devices. All from the same ip


You can combine IP address with fingerprint built from WebGL video card information, fonts list and rendering details, OS name, CPU type, memory size (yes, browser provides this) and screen resolution.


I'm a bit confused, is the nature of the complaint that Firefox lets you use multi-account containers without at the same time forcing you to use resist-fingerprinting? Because you can certainly choose to use both.

If your point is that resist-fingerprinting would be a sane default, I agree. But Mozilla insists that most firefox users would be too confused by a few websites breaking because of it.


A small network will likely have identical setups. Plus I pointed out directly the one case of ip tracking being useless. Clearly there are other way to track an individual computers. But your counter argument is irrelevant regarding in my limited scope reply


My understanding is the Facebook container add-on blocks phoning home by Facebook like and share buttons. You are right that ad networks can still share data (use uBlock Origin) or websites can share this in the back end (nothing we can do about I guess) but the Facebook container is not nothing.


The Facebook Container add-on is distinct from the Multi-Account Containers feature.

It's much friendlier than building your own containers, since most of the hard work and decisions have been made by the developers of the Facebook Container add-on.

You should definitely install the Facebook Container if you have a Facebook account, it traps that neatly inside a box. These days it can even be taught about any sites you use Facebook to authenticate with (this isn't a good idea but whatever) to bring them inside the container while everything else stays outside.


Yeah but you still really should be using utilities like cookie autodelete, clearURLs, pihole, decentraleyes, and nano defender.


You can set it that certain sites always launch in certain containers, if that would help


you make it so it always opens a specific page in a specific container, its like giving them types


I wish it was a bit more reliable - browser crashes and/or updates have lost all my containers several times.

Nevertheless once you've got used to it, it becomes an essential feature. Another reason to be thankful for Firefox's existence.


But getting separate session between different private browsing windows has been requested for a very long time with no dice [1].

[1]:https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=117222


I love containers as well. Does anyone know when/if they'll be coming to Firefox for Android and iOS?

Also, I really wish you would be able to specify which container you want in the Home button when using multiple urls for your default tabs.

So this:

    https://gmail.com/|https://gmail.com/
Would become something like this:

    {container:personal}https://gmail.com/|{container:work}https://gmail.com/


I'm pretty sure Mozilla has abandoned Firefox on Android to work on Firefox Preview (code named Fenix).

Here is the github issue that tracks container support on Firefox Preview: https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/fenix/issues/1481


I would LOVE to use Firefox on Android. But the UX is so kludgey! My main beefs

- Refresh requires two clicks instead of the now-standard pull down (like Chrome)

- Text resizing is _all_ _over_ _the_ _place_. I go to Reddit and the text shrinks down to size 3 or something. There is no clear way to make any adjustment whatsoever. Compare to Chrome/Chrome-clone Brave's very easy text resizing.

Why do I love firefox on android?

- Adblocking adblocking adblocking. Get rid of the absolutely garbage ad experiences that clutter up the majority of .com sites

- Extensions

- Zoom is easy versus other browsers


Pulling down to refresh is so annoying. Way too easy to trigger accidentally. I really prefer the Firefox way.


Have you tried the new browser, still called Firefox Preview on Android?


What makes you say they are abandoning it? I hope they change the name if it happens.

Edit: https://venturebeat.com/2019/06/27/mozilla-geckoview-firefox... is an article on this. It says Firefox Focus is being replaced. But Focus was not really a full featured browser and hasn't meant replace the normal Firefox on mobile. Confusing...


I literally run my browser in containers to achieve this. I still trust that more than letting the browser manage it. I call it ultra-private mode :)


A poor mans container (at least under unix-alikes) is simply running the program as another user with 'su' or 'sudo'.


That's too complicated. Use profiles for same result without having to use another user.

firefox -new-instance -P


I do this so frequently that I wrapped FF (and chrome) with a PyGTK starter, each profile with an icon. Less clicks to launch a new session of my preferred flavor


There use to be something called prism (not that one) that would do exactly this. The project was abandoned a few years ago sadly and I couldn't get it to work under a recent Ubuntu


For those unaware, this interface already exists this simply in the browser's UI (the difference being that your approach allows launching from desktop)


In FF each profile is a different directory (good) for Chrome I force it to specific user-settings so there is no cross contamination.

And yes, it's basically a trivial interface shortcutting that FF built tool.


You can also create and launch new profiles from a running instance of Firefox on the about:profiles page.


But modern tracking methods go far beyond whether not you’re actually logged into some site, I’m not sure how this is much of an improvement, your IP remains the same, your browser fingerprint is probably similar enough, if not identical, for them to track you regardless of whether you’re logged in. You only have to be logged in once on the machine from one container for all the other sites you visit in other containers to track you on any site that has a presence or tracking code associated with the one that you’ve logged into somewhere else.


> your IP remains the same

Not necessarily, e.g. you could use VPNs for some containers or randomize the ipv6 suffix.


I work remotely and use separate browsers for work and personal stuff. I was hoping Firefox would allow me to use one browser, but it didn't quite work out like I had hoped. There's no keyboard shortcuts, so you're forced to use mouse/menus (I did find an extension to open a new window in a container using shortcuts). I'm pretty sure history/cookies are global--I couldn't delete all cookies from a container (I think there's a ticket to better support this). I was hoping to close everything from a container when I'm not working and reopen it later...this seems to only work for the tabs in the current window.

It seems like a great feature. It's definitely a differentiator. Perhaps I had too specific of an approach going in. In general, for me tabs in a window are all related so flipping windows or closing windows are the context I switch between.


I use profiles for this, I work on secure stuff and can't afford to have any chance of mixing work and my personal computing adventures. Profiles are also extremely easy to use, but it does cost you 2X memory for the separate processes. Just throwing another option out there.


I wish Firefox had customizable shortcuts for everything, tabs, bookmarks, etc. It's just weird that you can't.


I just wish they had per-container proxy support. That would make me immediately switch to Firefox.


What's the use case for this? You can already configure different proxies to apply to different domains. The UX isn't great though, you have to use https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_auto-config


Not GP, but it seems like a great idea to me. Using different proxies you can have a different IP address for each profile, making tracking more difficult.


That's a really good idea. To achieve similar result, I am currently using multiple Firefox profiles which have different proxies configured. I also have separate profiles for social media. It wouldn't be bad if they made profiles work in the same way or with similar functionality like containers work (profile per tab, each tab uses different proxy etc.).

Ideally, I'd love to have Firefox handle the whole proxying or even networking part. Like have each Firefox profile use different network gateway (useful when you want to route all network traffic trough VPN for example).


I haven't tried this, but you can try: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/sidebery/

It claims to allow you to set proxy settings per container.


Problem with containers is that they don't work in anonymous mode (at least last time I tried them they didn't).


There is some sort of other setting you have to enable to get them to work in anonymous mode, something like "enable extensions in private mode" or something. Even then it only worked on my old computer, when I set up my new computer and enabled the setting and it didn't seem to "take" and I didn't fiddle around with it to fix it. The other option is installing an extension that simply deletes cookies when you close a tab.


I confirm. I never used containers before, and when I tried, I discovered it wouldn't work with how I configured firefox, which is always ON private mode.


I think the best way to do that is to keep the browser data directories completely separate by using the --user-data-dir option in chrome (--profile in firefox)


Didn’t know Firefox has this ability, it’s the reason why I have to stuck with Chrome ever since. Couples of click to switch profile and that’s it.


Chrome supports multiple profiles, and you can seamlessly switch between them using Ctrl-Shift-M and the "Open link as" context menu entry.


FF also has multiple profiles feature. But nothing matches Containers. Containers are different. Containers keep only the identity data (sesssion, cookies etc.) separate. All other data is shared. Profiles are painful. History, Password Manager, Bookmarks all are accessible and shared across FF containers. This makes it really useful.


You can't mix tabs from multiple profiles in the same window, though. And they don't share extensions etc. They're much heavier weight than containers.


I don't think you can use them to automatically sequester urls to certain profiles though? That's a serious limitation for my use - eg. I always want gmail to open in my logged-in 'engoogled' container, and never want plain google searches to be logged in. I don't want to manually enforce those rules (that's what computers are for).


Good point, but one of the key aspects about Firefox's implementation is that you can have different container tabs within the same window. As far as I know, that's still not possible with Chrome.


There are people who swear by Chrome’s profiles, then there are people who swear by Firefox’s containers. I’m in the former category. I’ve learned through various debates that as always, you’re not gonna convince anyone on the other side.


It doesn't protect from fingerprinting your machine using WebGL (whose main purpose is to extract data about video card), canvas (main purpose of canvas is to check what fonts you have and how they are rendered), screen size, OS and IP address and TTL of IP packets.

Then you carelessly enter your non-temporary email address or phone number to get an order from a shop and the shop links your fingerprint to your offline identifiers. Now you cannot escape from tracking anymore.

Fingerprinting is real. For example, a site of government services for Moscow has fingerprinting code and users log into it with their real name.

You can use containers or private mode but your fingerprint stays the same and uniquely identifies you. Disable WebGL, canvas, accessing non-default fonts from browser, reading OS name and screen size right now and vote for disabling it by default if you don't want to be tracked.


Is Chrome still planning on rolling out manifest v3, which kills uBlock Origin?

I imagine that would boost Firefox growth.

Edit: Answering my own question...yup, it's in canary as of November 1st. https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/software/google-begins...


Here is the post from an extension developer invited in the latest Mozilla workshop with info on the plans for Mozilla for manifest v3

https://gist.github.com/Lusito/dd6b76b93f83267903619103745cc...


The key passage:

"Google wants to drop support for blocking WebRequests, which will cripple certain extensions, others might not even work at all. Mozilla is not going to follow this destructive path."


Are there definite plans for uBlock Origin not to support new blocking API?


Come to think of it it's a great opportunity to move more people off chrome.

Make sure proper ad blocking only works in firefox and make google choke on their evil policies masked with performance concerns.


Also less development overhead, when one does not need to develop for Chrome any longer. Seems like a sweet deal to take. With a more focused development, we might see more improvements for the code of the Firefox extension.



To expand on your comment a little: The new API means uBlock Origin cannot do useful things that it does now. gorhill/Raymond is not refusing to implement a new API, he is refusing to nerf uBlock Origin.

That's a stance I like very much. And it is good news for Firefox for sure, since the roughly 30% (last I checked) of users that use privacy-enhancing extensions are being handed a very good incentive to switch.


Thanks. uBlock Origin has a unique author who does not bend with "acceptable ads" nonsense and it's a shame to lose that addon. Hopefully something similar will emerge. I think that Chrome developers have a good reason to abandon old API, because Apple did something similar with Safari approach to ad blocking. Also it's a good thing if more users will migrate from Chrome. While I, myself, use it and love it, I think that healthy competition benefits everyone.


>Hopefully something similar will emerge

Nothing similar will ever emerge, because the only reason Gorhill isn't supporting development on Chrome is due to the API changes that means that uBlock literally cannot function anymore. There will never be a new uBlock, or anything similar, on Chrome without some kind of exploit or Chrome backtracking on the manifest changes.


Nothing similar can emerge for Chrome. You can't do hueristics or "right click to block" with a static declarative list. Also, the list is limited in size.


Unless you're on AD:

> The blocking version of the Web Request API remains available for managed extensions because of the deep integrations that enterprises may have between their software suites and Chrome.

Guess that leaves corporate Mac and Linux users in the lurch.


I’m pretty sure my org uses managed extensions. I’m on a Mac and I get “some settings are managed by your organization” or whatever, and we’ve installed at least one chrome extension from a local domain site.


gorhill will not "make uBO less than what it is now".

https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBlock-issues/issues/338#iss...


When is that planned going public?

I may have to rush an extension...


I switched back to Firefox (after using Chrome for a long time) back when Quantum launched and have stuck with it since. Initially I fell back to Chrome every now and then for the devtools, but I haven't felt the need to do that for a good while now. Works really well for my use cases at least.


I’ve said this in many other similar threads and I’ll say it here again. Google services suck in Firefox. And that’s why I first went back to chrome after switching to Firefox. And then it clicked, chrome is just an app for google services for me. Want to use google maps? Chrome. Want to browse the web? Firefox. Chrome is literally a google app now. I love using Firefox for everything and I’ve mentally transitioned to using it completely (sans google services).

It’s a great mental exercise and I love the fact that I’ve been able to abandon chrome this way. I feel happy using Firefox now. And all the data google has on me now is so biased because they only get my usage for their own services.


What features of google maps aren't working in Firefox? I use maps constantly and never have an issue. In fact I use the whole suite of Google apps daily (mail, calendar, YouTube, maps, photos, keep, drive, office suite, etc) without issue.


Google maps zooming is horrendous. Loading of the maps is bad when you zoom in and out.

YouTube doesn’t load as fast on Firefox.

Gmail is sometimes slow.

Those are two big ones. So I have google signed out on Firefox and use chrome as simply the gateway to all things google.


I also did this, quantum is leaps and bounds ahead of chrome (no pun intended) in terms of being clean and feeling more solid.

Also not a RAM hog.


The only drawback I have with FF nowadays is history management.

I have enabled 'infinite history' (do not delete old history, ever) so I can keep a journal of what I've visited when. The history, as large as it might turn out, is just a few MB of an sqlite3 database (places.sql) -- problematic is the management of it using the Firefox UI. Searching is laggy and deletion of swaths of entries is impossible as it makes the history manager UI hang for many minutes or even hours (=essentially I always kill Firefox when I do this by mistake). I suspect the GUI constructs a view of the sqlite db using single GUI objects tied to single DB entries and therefore has maximum overhead.

Editing the places.sql file directly via the sqlite3 CLI (with Firefox shut down) is a matter of (milli)seconds at best.

If I had the resources to compile FF in reasonable time I would give developing the patch a shot myself, but browser development is not an option with my current hardware, and I do not have a build server set up.

PS. The fact that Chrome does not support tagged bookmarks is another nail for its coffin. Makes it impossible to organize 10000s of bookmarks, and search on them.


At least Firefox gives proper suggestions from history when typing in addresses. Chrome is way off, as if it wants you to search in google instead.


That's the main reason I've always stuck with Firefox. I use the address bar as a way to quickly access my history instead of using bookmarks, and it has worked so well for me so far.


Actually it only gives a limited numer (10 or so) hits from your history. I remember years ago, this wasn't the case and you could keyword search your history/bookmarks and the dropdown would get longer and get a scrollbar, but you could actually scroll through 100s of hits that way.

I used that a LOT, and I'm still sad they removed it for some reason. 10 is very often not enough, because it lists too many similar domains.


It is possible to get that feature back with two advanced tweaks (which I had to use):

1) Increase the number of results in about:config: Set browser.urlbar.maxRichResults to your desired value (like 60).

2) Make the results scrollable with a userchrome.css tweak: Using this example or your own: https://github.com/MrOtherGuy/firefox-csshacks/blob/master/c...


Yes, I also notice that I often don't have to go to Google because the page I need is in the dropdown. Suggestions in FF work awesome.


If I enter "gov.ie" in Chrome, it will search for it rather than going to the address. So annoying.


> "and deletion of swaths of entries is impossible as it makes the history manager UI hang for many minutes or even hours (=essentially I always kill Firefox when I do this by mistake). I suspect the GUI constructs a view of the sqlite db using single GUI objects tied to single DB entries and therefore has maximum overhead."

I've not probed this deeply, but I have encountered it and can confirm it's a problem. To give an idea of the magnitude of the problem, deleting 10,000 history items can easily lock up Firefox for a full hour. I think but haven't confirmed that it might even be nonlinear. e.g. deleting 1,000 entries 10 times in a row seems faster than deleting 10,000 entries in one go.

I don't know what firefox is doing here, but it's badly broken.

(My places.sqlite is 55MB)


so i did a little bit of digging into it and it looks like it does a delete command for each of the items that are selected in the list separately. this is all overly simplified as there are other things going on (selecting the nodes to be deleted as well as notifications to other subsystems.)

That item can be a node(website) that has thousands of visits associated with it so it needs to then delete each of those in multiple batches of delete statements chunked by the db variable limit(~100 or 1000 I think).

Then after that transaction sqlite rebuilds the indexes(17 by my count) on the database with those items missing.

then it does the next chunk and continues on in chunks until there are no more items to delete and then the next item that was selected begins the process again. there might also be a problem with redrawing the history list taking time away from the deletion itself too. it's tough to say exactly what the full bottleneck it but the chunking of the deletes like that looks like a culprit.


Firefox is deleting each entry individually. I tried to contribute a patch with a short-circuit when you select all and hit delete, but the places code was in the middle of a refactoring, and as always with browsers it was way more complicated than my patch, so it wasn't accepted.


Are you aware if there's a bug open on bugzilla for this?


I confirm it too. it's very annoying.


I also had the same desire as you to keep my firefox history for as long as possible. It's especially great for auto-completion of previously visited websites.

My places.sqlite file is several years old and has moved across several machines, it is 47MB.

I can't say I've experienced the same lag you're describing. At least using the firefox url bar ( where auto-completions show up ) I found it to be pretty quick. The firefox history management window "feels" a little old ( read: 90s ), but is functional for the times I've had to search for a site I visited 5 years ago and vaguely remembered the name.

What specific features would you want to see from firefox's history management window.


Make a copy of your profile (to preserve your history) then in Firefox's Show All History window, search for a site that has thousands of visits, select them all, then press delete. Firefox will start burning a few CPU cores and lock up for a long time, every time.


That might very well be performing poorly. But I interpreted the OP to talk about usability of viewing all the previous history. My goal is to never delete my firefox "sites visited" history so I can refer to it back later. So naturally I've never experienced the problem you're describing.


My places.sqlite is 400MB, and just opening the history viewer is enough to cause Firefox to hang for several seconds. It's really not designed to store history forever; I even had to change places.history.expiration.max_pages and places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages in about:config to prevent it from deleting old entries.


No I meant deleting items takes a very long time, like the current grand parent.

Search is quick, in Ctrl+H and the URL bar suggestions are instantaneous. No complaints there.


you can try going to your profile and running:

sqlite3 places.sqlite vacuum

to see if that helps speed things up a bit. might not but it's free and safe(well as safe as anything can be i guess).

to your other point if you want to check this out you can likely use an artifact build to compile firefox in under a min or so if the changes are only in the javascript frontend code and not the backend c++ code. (unsure where the slowdown is)


Vacuum has no substantial impact here. It only knocked about 10% off my places.sqlite and mass deletion remains pathologically slow.


perhaps you can file a bug about it? should not be that slow.

here are a few of the places where it's being deleted by the looks of things:

https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/search?q=history+delet...

it's in javascript so it could be debugged with an artifact build perhaps?


It's true. I have kept giving Firefox another chance over time but haven't been convinced.

Recently, I tried Firefox again on Windows. And the experience is amazing indeed - faster, smoother, and with trackers blocking, very pleasant. And with strict protection, that's sort-of a builtin ad blocker.

Something still feels off on MacOS even though the last version has been a massive improvement for MBP Retina.


Anecdote: I use it everyday at work on a 2015 MBP Retina, now on Catalina. No problems!

What feels off for you?


Lack of media key control and pinch to zoom are the 2 that stop me from using Firefox (I use Brave instead)


Pinch to zoom is in beta for some time now. From a Firefox developer on /r/firefox¹:

> You can turn it on by setting 'apz.allow_zooming' to true. It sort of works but has bugs. You can track the progress and report problems that you see here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1461360.*

¹ https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/bcebze/its_2019_wh...


Firefox just gained the ability to use Mac’s hardware media keys to control media playback in the latest beta/developer edition (71 right now): https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1575995


Scrolling doesn’t elastically over scroll; it just hits a hard stop at the page boundaries


Apple patented the elastic scroll.


Such a patent seems to be owned by Google:

https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2012148617A3/en


I keep trying Firefox but Google services are absolutely terrible on it, and I spend a lot of time in Gmail/Drive/Docs/Hangouts so having two sets of browsers like another commenter here said is a non-starter for me (I've tried it).


I think you have two options then:

A) (if possible) migrate away from the services you mentioned.

B) lock-in deeper and deeper with the biggest advertising company on the planet.


B) is my choice and I have made peace with it. Generally speaking, the HN crowd vastly overstates how important any one person's data is and/or vastly overestimates the ability to get out of this future anyway.


That's the attitude of most everyone, and hence the reason it won't change. But IF.. (just if) a few hundred million people decided to ditch Chrome and Google's "services" (data collectors in disguise), Google might be forced to take notice.

On the other hand, never say never to Google's dominance going out the window. They may find themselves in very deep trouble in the not too distant future.


I gave desktop Firefox multiple chances over the course of 15 years, until that day in May when every extension stopped working.[1]

That said, the mobile version seems really robust.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/03/a-glitch-is-breaking-all-f...


What do you use instead? IMO, even with the switch to Web Extensions, Firefox still has a better selection of extensions.


Chrome.


As I have already said in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21026626 :

Firefox really should take care of it's native interface, it feels like a cross-platform app, and while it does have some worthy features to consider, for me it's too non-mac (and in that aspect, it really doesn't look like an Window/Linux app either) for someone using Safari to migrate.


> it really doesn't look like an Window/Linux app either)

I guess this is a subjective matter because to my eye, it looks fantastic on Windows, matching the Windows 10 dark theme very well. The active tab highlight looks like the open app highlights in my top-docked Windows taskbar. And the Firefox Container color-bars look great below that. Its sharp edges are a match for the sharp look of Windows.

To me, Chrome is the browser that doesn't look right on Windows. Its over-use of curved lines looks anachronistic, as if it's from the 2000s.


On the Mac, at least, it's painfully obvious that nothing matches. The look is a little off, but the behavior is way off. The scrolling doesn't work the same as native scrolling, nor do the context menus, the toolbars, the tabs, or the keyboard shortcuts. You can't do anything in Firefox without being reminded that you're using an app which is not like any other app on your Mac.

It seems they've been struggling to get more Mac developers for a long time. Unfortunately, their toolchain is so foreign to Mac developers, too, that people don't want to learn it. It's a chicken-and-egg problem.


This problem is easily solved on Windows by having no two programs looking the same :D (even those made by Microsoft and even those actually part of Windows)


On Mac it remains very apparent that most UI is constructed by Firefox rather than macOS native.


The new Edge based on Chromium is full of rounded edges (heh). Microsoft has plans to make Windows' UI round (again).


Yep. Firefox doesn’t really look and play like a Fluent design app. This look worked well for Windows 8-10 but it’ll look more and more out of place as time goes on now. Would be nice to see an UI refresh for Windows using WinUI for the chrome. I was never a big fan of HTML/CSS as their chrome because this also guarantees we’ll never have a cross platform browser in a native user interface.


Indeed. Disappointing.


If they put some emphasis on embeddability, some of us might build these alternative interfaces for them.


Well, they are to an extent with their work on the new Firefox Preview for Android, which is using underlying browser tech as a library instead of bundled together into a monolithic app, which improves code reuse for Focus and Firefox for Android. I don't know if this will translate at all for making separate UX on different platforms, but the optimist in me thinks it will.

That being said, I like the Firefox UI on Linux, Windows, and Android, so I guess I don't understand the desire for making it "more native". My excitement for the new Firefox for Android is all about the performance improvements, not the UI design.


I have always been a heavy user of Firefox, even in the pre-Quantum days.

My main reason was that Chrome would sync my bookmarks out of order and I am a heavy bookmarks sync user.

I gave Chrome multiple tries for bookmark syncing and yet they would sync them out of order (can't believe I am the only heavy bookmark user on Chrome who cares) so I just stuck with FF.

Then the privacy concerns happened and I stopped trying Chrome. Then Quantum happened and now FF is the lighter, faster browser. I had no real reason to use Chrome except browser compatibility and a few dev tools.

Then ublock origins is getting blocked and now I am recommending people to switch to Firefox.

I do like the seamless and easy to use multiple profiles that Chrome has. Makes it very nice to isolate your tasks. If I am not logged into reddit or HN I waste less time and less cognitive overhead. FF technically has them but I hate how I have to open a prelaunch dialog to use them.


Another heavy bookmarks user / hoarder here. I have around 30k bookmarks, so much bookmarks that Firefox freezes for a few seconds when I click on bookmarks menu bar item, because it tries to load them all within that drop down menu. I keep bookmarks sidebar permanently open without any slowdowns.

I've been using Firefox from its very beginnings so I can tell you I've tried switching to Chrome and Safari a few times over the years. Every time I tried to import bookmarks to other browsers they would simply crap out, while Firefox handled them without breaking a sweat.

Of course I continue to use FF for many other reasons but, at least at first, good and fast bookmarks management kept me using Firefox.

Lastly, if anyone knows a way to prevent Firefox to show all bookmarks in drop-down menu, let me know :)


Loading "about:profiles" lets you use profiles without the prelaunch dialog. It's not amazing UI; it's there basically to support debugging scenarios, but it does work.


I've been happy with everything about Firefox (on Xubuntu) from many years now. But when they released Quantum, the thing that bothered me a bit was not any feature or performance, but them removing curvy tabs for rectangular ones. Rather shallow of me, but we all have our UI quirks :). Luckily, Firefox UI is very customizable and somebody had already put in the effort [1] to provide curvy tabs. Just had to download it, change the RGB() values therein, and got back my preferred green curvy tabs. Just a silly thing, but might give somebody one more reason to switch to Firefox.

[1]: https://github.com/wilfredwee/photon-australis


Not silly at all. I tried getting back into Firefox on macOS after Quantum but it still didn’t sit well with me. I just felt slightly out of place. Fast forward to last week and I happened to try it again and it looked real nice! The UI seemed smoother and less jarring than before. Plus the icon was new and slick. Not sure when those changes landed but just the look and feel give me more confidence in its solidness.


Never in my life has a slick new icon been a positive factor when assessing software. I just do not get it.


Similar thing with me except I stuck up with them even with Quantum until that fiasco with SSL certs happened and all extensions came to a halt. I'll never be able to trust a browser which does such a thing to its users.


A bug which they rolled out a fix for in, what, a few hours?


That fix was a hack, pushed out using a system that never should've been used for such things. A proper fix would've been re-signing the cert, but that took a lot longer.

I can't really think of a better approach they could've taken, though, if re-signing the certificate wasn't something they could've done straight away.


I switched over to Firefox when I read that Chrome was limiting the functionality of ad block extensions and it's been a fantastic browser so far.


same, except it isn't fantastic but I can't suffer Google games anymore (also, my laptop is ancient)


I'll switch back to Firefox the day that happens. I don't think it's a compelling reason until that day though.


That day is already here my friend.


It is not, Manifest v3 hasn't been rolled out yet. It is in Canary already though. But it will take some time before it reaches stable.


With Manifest v3 in Canary it feels like there's no chance it won't reach stable in substantially the same form. Moving to Firefox now gives you a transition period where both browsers are viable.


Of course, it will be stable, but we can still enjoy Chrome's snappiness in the meantime... that's my point


I didn't know it was in Canary. I used Firefox for several months earlier this year before going back to Chrome. Due to this, my transition back to it will be pretty quick and painless.


If you're on a Mac with wide color gamut, here's a trick to improve Firefox's rendering so colors aren't oversaturated:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1250461#c28


For those testing this, open Safari and Firefox to HN and compare the shade of orange in the header. In Safari it’ll be the correct dull sRGB orange as shown to PC users decades ago when HN picked that color. In Firefox it may be blindingly saturated and bright.

If it is, and you prefer Firefox to apply ICC color correction to match Safari, set gfx.color_management.mode to 1 in about:config and restart.

There is an upcoming color standard change that will allow web developers to specify wide gamut CSS colors. Right now, they cannot. The current draft of that spec declares that all #aabbcc web colors are not wide color by default, unless specified by the designer. If that is kept in the final release, Firefox will eventually comply and this option will no longer be required.


My biggest gripe with Firefox is that it doesn't support MIDIAccess. So any web app that works with an electronic piano, doesn't work. They've been saying they are working on it for years. Works in Chrome, Brave, Opera, Edge, etc.

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/MIDIAccess

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=836897

It's actually pretty bizarre since the basic functionality (hit a note on the piano, send it to the web page that is listening for such events) is so trivial, compared to the vast majority of features.


I guess the reason is probably that it probably requires a developer with a midi device, and it affects too few users for Mozilla to want to prioritise it. The bug currently has priority P3. There are about 8300 existing P1 and P2 bugs, and over 10000 P3 bugs.

Saying that it works in chrome, brave, opera, edge etc sounds like “look at all these other vendors who put the effort in” but really they are all running the same code these days so you could instead write “chromium implements it”.


> I guess the reason is probably that it probably requires a developer with a midi device

That is not true at this point. AFAIK Windows, OS X and ALSA all support virtual MIDI devices. Windows and OS X (last time I used it) ship with virtual General MIDI outputs and there is a lot of free third party software for virtual input.

I'd rather say that the reason is probably that you need a developer with domain knowledge and interest, and a consensus on what the standard should include.


The source you linked to has the spec created by a Google engineer and in working draft. All the browsers you mention are based on Chromium so will automatically inherit this functionality.

I’m not saying it’s not something useful to implement, but it usually takes some time and a stable specification before other browse manufacturers want to implement non-mainstream functionality.


Yes well it's been in working draft for about 7 years, and I'm pretty sure the holdup on finalizing the draft is on the Mozilla side.

https://github.com/mozilla/standards-positions/issues/58


Reminds me of the audio API mess. If you want to stream arbitrary sample data to an output you can either use ScriptProcessorNode (simple API, well supported but deprecated) or AudioWorkletNode (over-engineered API, largely unsupported and experimental).

The stall in that case seems caused by the overly ambitious design of the Web Audio API altogether. It's utterly useless for audio processing or synthesis except when using the aforementioned APIs because it mandates a bunch of underspecified high level concepts. Just let me fill a buffer with floats for the speakers and read a buffer of floats for the mic. That's literally all I need, and literally the only way you can build, say, a compressor and have full control of its characteristics.

When researching the best option I found this, so I'm not alone in thinking this: https://blog.mecheye.net/2017/09/i-dont-know-who-the-web-aud...


Your biggest problem is that it doesn't work with a MIDI keyboard? Ok? I have to ask why this is so important? What is the use case here?


Browsers are essentially operating systems, and can allow replacing desktop apps with web apps. I mean, I don't use a stylus, but if I did a lot of graphics stuff and liked using a stylus, but I couldn't use a stylus within one brand of browser, suddenly the browser is far less useful to me.

Same goes for other things. WebGl is very rarely useful for me. But if I liked playing (or developing) games, it would be awesome if the browser allowed that sort of thing rather than forcing developers to build for a specific native platform. So an immense amount of work has gone into webGl, even though it appeals to a fairly small subset of users right now.

I'd guess you could imagine desktop apps that use a midi keyboard. Like, ones to learn piano, or otherwise do interesting musical stuff. I mean, they have WebAudio, but its usefulness is limited if they can't do anything with a keyboard.

In my case, I develop a web app that does music stuff. (and it actually has to be a web app because of the way it uses YouTube) It's disappointing that I have to say "Chrome/Blink only."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rytYcOUZH30


Since these threads always wind up with lots of top-level comments from people providing anecdotal complaints about how [browser under discussion] crashes all the time on their computer, or eats up all the RAM, or whatever, I just wanted to add a similarly anecdotal top-level comment with my own, positive experience.

I have been using FF Nightly and FF Dev Edition on both my work and home machines (MacOS and Arch Linux) for years, using the former for personal browsing and the latter for work.

I generally only restart the browser when there are updates, and I’ve maybe had two or three restarts in all that time where I lost my tabs. Even rebooting the computer, I usually get a window asking if I want to restore my tabs, which works with no fuss. On the rare occasions that doesn’t happen, I’ve been able to “restore previous session” from the history menu.

I have generally beefy machines, but I’ve never had personally noticeable issues with performance since Quantum was released. I usually have somewhere between five and fifty tabs open in each browser.

The only crashes I’ve seen that I remember have been when I was playing with WebRender settings in about:config, and happened whenever I was scrolling in a particularly large Confluence document. Also, occasionally my strict third party settings will make a login or other functionality break, in which case it’s easy to relax the settings just for that page.

FF integrates very well with 1Password, which is my password manager of choice.

I use FF Mobile on iOS, and while it is a bit rougher on battery life than safari, having all my history and bookmarks synced is worth it.

Anyway, my experience is definitely not everyone’s, and I don’t doubt that some people have strange and frustrating issues with the browser. That being said, I suspect experiences like mine are more common than comments on threads like this suggest.


I'll share my anecdote in that case

I installed Manjaro on my Surface Pro and Firefox was included (? or I happened to install it instead of Chrome, I'm fuzzy on that)

The next day, a few minutes before a job interview I opened Firefox to find a curious error

Using an older version of Firefox can corrupt bookmarks and browsing history already saved to an existing Firefox profile. To protect your information, create a new profile for this installation of Firefox

I click through it and... everything's gone. Including my plugins, which I need for... 1Password. To log into my Google account, to access the link I need to join.

Cue me frantically googling how to fix it, before I end up having to type in a 70 character password off my phone screen.

In the end I did manage to fix it by manually editing the profile. But obviously off to a terrible start, joining the meeting almost 5 minutes late.

Enter the interview and we're screen sharing my IDE. But it's a complete slideshow on my end. My computer is running like it's throttling itself, I can barely create a new project.

Cue me fumbling through the activity monitor when it becomes clear that there's no way I'll be able to complete the interview like this.

Firefox is going haywire and using all my resources.

"Hey sorry, do you mind if I take a second and install Chrome"

Install Chrome in the middle of the interview and it handles screen sharing just fine without killing the laptop.

Keep in mind, this is all WebRTC screen sharing, no custom plugin or anything, so the implementation is 100% on the browser.

You could watch my interviewers enthusiasm fade, and my confidence drop off a cliff as I went through all this. I was pretty much told I didn't perform terribly, but they weren't sure about my knowledge based on the final output (half the interview being wasted on FF issues)

So yeah, stuck with FF for 24hrs, figuring what's the worst that could happen, HN is always hyping it up.

Indirectly cost me a job opportunity in those 24hrs.

I won't be trying it again.


Yes, that sounds terrible, and I can understand why it would sour you on the whole application!

Edit: just wanted to make sure to say that there’s no sarcasm here at all. I would absolutely feel the same way if I had had that experience


I too have virtually no experience with any modern browsers crashing in the ways often reported here. And I'm at least a "power user," using browsers for consumption and web development throughout the day. Dozens or hundreds of tabs—no problem. Developer tools open all the time. No modern browser even breaks a sweat.

I just happen to favor Firefox because I like its speed, look & feel, user interface quirks (versus the quirks of the other browsers), and options for customization.

Notably, I use proper workstations both at home and in the office. I suppose it's possible the popularity of using laptops as developer "workstations" may be underlying much of the grievance we often see here.


The only thing that keeps me from moving back to Firefox is the lack of support for precision touchpads---a feature present in Chromium-based browsers, Edge UWP, and even Internet Explorer!

Several issues have been opened on Bugzilla in this regard [1][2], none of which have been resolved to date.

[1]: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1564022

[2]: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=890878


There's nothing 'calm' or 'distraction-free' about the obnoxious toolbar animations: https://i.imgur.com/N6v30Sa.gif . Which just happen over and over and over and over again as you navigate from page to page. Do you really need a blue animated progress bar flash signifying the page has loaded? Does the refresh and stop icon need to have a half second long animation every single time it switches between the two? Does the throbber need to oscillate back and forth like a pendulum used to induce hypnosis? Worst part is it requires some userchrome.css patch to fix that awful throbber animation, not easily in the normal settings area.


I made the switch from Chrome to Firefox about 3 weeks ago. It's a little bizarre at first but you get used to it. No autoplay is really nice. Being unable to use two dictionaries at once for spell checking is super annoying, but it's a detail. All in all it works quite well, and if uBlock Origin has to leave Chrome, the switch is a no-brainer.


Stop sending my data to Google (https://twitter.com/jonathansampson/status/11658588961766604...) and make Firefox fast on Linux (minimum as Chrome) - reason't why I'm not use Fox anymore.


What are you using instead, then?


They removed GA from the startup pages, and you can go straight from those to the telemetry settings (it even prompts you to do so on first launch iirc).


off topic, is it common to twitter this way? Wouldn't a blog post be more efficient than multiple tweets ( that are meant to be read independently? )


Yes, it is common. Yes, it would be easier to blog. But people do not click external links anymore.

People being non-HN users. It's easy to say "Just go to the blog!" but people don't like navigating away from their Twitter app (often they're on mobile) to do that, for whatever reason. I agree 100% with blogging more but the views just are not there.


I've used Firefox as my main browser on my Mac for quite a while. I use Chrome when working on my company's web stuff, because I like its developer tools better and its handling of multiple profiles is a lot better [1].

There is one thing that threatens now and then to move me to Chrome.

Here is a sample of that thing: prosecutable subtractive tunable epicycle inductor subparagraphs transactional micropayments blacksmithing inductor solvability verifier ethicist tradable tradeable auditable splitter surveil responder commenter.

Firefox tells me that all of those words are spelled wrong. Chrome, Safari, and on Windows Edge all know that most or all of them are spelled right.

It just gets tiring to regularly be commenting somewhere and get distracted by Firefox falsely claiming some word is misspelled, disrupting my train of thought as I have to go look it up to verify that I am in fact spelling it right.

Everything else I type text into manages to spell check orders of magnitude better than Firefox.

[1] Yes, I know about Firefox's multi-account containers. Great if all you are trying to do is keep yourself logged in to a couple different accounts at the same site. If you want to have separate bookmarks, extensions, and history too, you need to use profiles. Firefox has them, but Chrome does them better.



I agree that the dictionary needs to be expanded; It constantly annoys me.


I would say the problem here is that Firefox needs to use the system spell checker. They can't just "expand" it. It needs to support per-user custom dictionaries.

That's the same complaint I have, BTW, with every part of Firefox. If it's part of the UI, I don't want them to try to do better. I want them to just use the built-in one.


About once a week Firefox bans me from opening new tabs until I reboot it for an update. It promises to return my existing tabs but it never has.

For this reason I don't trust it when I'm doing meaningful work.


I was about ready to murder somebody the second time I ran into that, but some googling gave me the reason: it happens (on GNU/Linux) when you have updated firefox, but you are running the old program. Since opening a new tab opens a new process, this effectively means the old system would have to work intimately with a newer version -- which is too hard.

The solution is the same as always: don't upgrade until you are ready to reboot the system anyways. Or don't upgrade at all, if you can get away with it.


Sometimes I open Chrome, not after any kind of abnormal force-close, and it says something like “your browser profile was corrupt and has been permanently deleted”.

Which browser is good for meaningful work?


Whichever one works best for you.


“Bans” you?

Have you ever applied any of the about:config settings from one of those harmful “privacy” guides? Are you using an enterprise or school managed computer?


I use a session restore add-on to ensure that I have a alternative location for my tabs. Works nice with its periodic backups of session state. Edit: I use https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-session-m... .


I have never seen such a dialogue. Is this a corporate machine? Perhaps they have implemented some policy to keep the browser up-to-date.


That's interesting, I've never had issues getting old sessions back. You could try recovering it via "History > Recently closed windows", it should be there usually.


You can probably blame the web apps Im using for not saving state... But honestly I shouldn't be banned from opening tabs until I reboot the browser.


I've never had this happen personally. What OS is this? I use Firefox on OSX installed through Homebrew, so I have to manually update it with brew. Firefox has never asked me to update.


Ubuntu bionic. Latest default Firefox without any special enterprise stuff or whatnot.


It happens when you update firefox out from under itself. In other words, don't apply apt updates for firefox until you're ready to restart it.


I've never seen this before, are you sure it's an upstream Firefox thing?


I like the idea of not concentrating yet more power with Google, but, on OpenBSD, I use Iridium (Chrome derivative), so I see these benefits, and am wondering what Firefox would add for me, privacy- and security-wise:

1) Iridium doesn't send info to Google like Chrome does (or that is the idea);

2) It is easier (last I checked) than with Firefox to leave some config tabs open so I can quickly turn on/off javascript, images, and/or cookies for those sites where I need them (by exception list or temporary exception, and easy to manage it without a mouse once the tab is open; separately, I do change the search engine also, and create search keywords), and

3) OpenBSD adds pledge/unveil system calls from the browser, to prevent it from reading/writing files where it should not (plus I browse under a different user than I do other things with high confidence there will not be a privilege escalation; also they say the pledge/unveil support is easier to implement in Chrome/Iridium than in Firefox because of the cleaner separations of concerns in the code organization (my wording; though they have probably also put pledge/unveil in FF also for all I know),

4) Maybe the security of Chrome/Iridium benefits from Google's bug bounties, more than what Firefox has done (ie, the security track record of each, frequency of major holes over, say, the last 1-3 years). I don't really know but I'm glad they try.

Given those things, what are the remaining biggest reasons I might prefer Firefox? (I am aware of OBSD removing DNS-over-HTTP from Firefox, indicating that is a choice that should be made by the user at the system level instead).


Nit: This article recommends StartPage as a search engine "without all that tracking and profiling", but quite recently StartPage was acquired by System1, an advertising company[0]

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21371577


I switched to FireFox about a year ago. Containers is a killer feature.

But the container UX is still not perfect. Only recently did they fix it so you can log into a site via Facebook or Google.

But my biggest issue is power management. On my Mac, when I run Firefox, the fans spin at around 3K at all times and the load is moderate at all times.

When I turn off Firefox and switch to Chrome or Safari, the fans spin at 2K.

Firefox is just a huge resource drain when it runs on Mac. Which is too bad because it's my favorite browser feature-wise.


Did it not get better with FF 70 for you? They switched the rendering to use a better API on MacOS: https://mozillagfx.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/dramatically-red...


It did actually get a bit better with 70 so I'm still giving it a chance.


My experience with Firefox in the last few months have not been good. I encounter so much input lag when typing in the address bar, usually after opening a few tabs. In general, the UI is not responsive as I'd like so I'm using Brave right now where those issues are non-existent


This is exactly my main gripe. The address bar lags and I can't help but feel like everything's slow after that initial interaction.


I can confirm the macos version has had its performance issues fixed. Runs perfectly fine on my 2015 mbp, with several real time tabs and dozens of other tabs.

It's also nice to use tree style tabs to manage them all, plus you can reclaim the space for the tabs at the top with some css. I couldn't find anything matching this in chrome in terms of stability and ease of use.


Why is it that there is never any mention of Chrome’s profile switcher? It exists in FF but is so cumbersome to use that I just don’t. I spend time in both browsers but if I could use profiles easily on FF I’d just uninstall Chrome.


OK, so the feature I have been using in Chrome (Profiles) and that I thought I was missing in FF, won't ever exist in FF. Because, Multi-Account Containers (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account...). I guess I just needed to know that this was a thing and that it had another name. Going to try to now totally forego Chrome. Thanks for the discussion under https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21498452 that made me realize this was a thing.


I recently ditched both Chrome and Firefox. Now super happy with Safari.


I never thought I would say this, but I'm actually really looking forward to the new Chromium based Edge browser.

They have announced they will be releasing builds for Linux recently. They also are weighing their options with the Manifest v3 changes.

If Microsoft wanted to steal a bunch of users from Chrome, this seems like an easy "win". Don't support / force the Manifest v3 changes and win a bunch of goodwill from people who are able to use uBlock Origin style adblockers.

I know this has implications with extension compatibility but won't this just mean that the new Edge browser supports a super-set of extensions when compared to Chrome?


How do you get by without extensions? The extension "store" (now part of the App Store) isn't searchable, and among the available extensions, which are very few, most are junkware.


Not OP, but my use cases don't really require "traditional" extensions; 1Blocker and the Instapaper button are all I really need and want for day to day browsing, so improved extension support on other browsers doesn't add any value for me.


I have 1Blocker for ads and Enpass for passwords. That’s all I need. The developer console is very good, I rarely need anything else.


The only extensions I need are an adblocker (Wipr, 1Blocker) and 1Password.


Eats lot of RAM, has limited number of extensions, doesn't support royalty-free VP9 video codec. Feature-wise better than Edge, worse than FF ( https://caniuse.com/ ).


I used to use safari on Mac when on battery. It used seems more battery saving. I also use it at work when plugged in as my “personal browser” (email/banks etc). work web browsing is Firefox and chrome (for testing)

The new firefox is better at power management but since I’m on a Linux laptop it’s now Firefox (no safari on Linux).


Gnome Web/Epiphany uses the same browser engine as Safari in case you want to use it there.


I have been using firefox... forever now and only thing I miss is translate functionality chrome has. I searched for some extensions but they were opening a new window for translation which does not compare to google's inlined translation. Any suggestions?


I miss that too but the good news is that it is coming thanks to the EU funding[1].

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21321430


T-mobile's login page last month dropped Firefox support -- returned a cryptic complaint about "agent ID".

There is actually something we can do to make T-mo reconsider: Call up one of their agents and play the naive user reporting the problem. Then voice a complaint when told that "the site supports Chrome and Safari". These calls get logged as an expense, presumably charged to the earlier policy decision to drop FF.


It works fine for me. Firefox for Android (Fennec) with uBlock Origin. What exactly is broken?


Firefox needs to work on solutions that help webmasters, not just the users. Some of these choices may affect the revenue of websites negatively without providing a better alternative, so you might not see developers being happy to suggest firefox. Brave is at least trying to bring new models to the world. Firefox is not.


I tried for a while. The experience was just too sloppy for me. I got fed up and switched to Chromium Edge. I hate the Pocket integration and other crap they try to shove down your throat. And at work, the lack of integrated Windows authentication was a deal breaker. Plus, Chromium's UI is a lot tamer, cleaner, and focused.


I disabled pocket a single time and haven't had to see it since


Yeah, but they keep trying to shove other monetization schemes down our throats.


I'm using Firefox on Mac and I got used to it somehow especially after energy efficiency improvemnts but the main reason was that I had issues using Google Drive on Safari + discontinued support from uBlock ... I like it but I still wish to go back to Safari for user experience ... I can't believe Firefox has been around for so long and they haven'tyet firgured out basic stuff like moving pointer up to switch tab brings out the main panel that covers the tabs ... other stuff like open image in new window, get definitions of words etc. I miss those a lot.


> other stuff like open image in new window

Well you can open an image in a new tab by holding down control as you click the 'view image' button. Right click on any image and hold control.


I always had given Firefox another choice, but throws me out of websites, unoptimized websites and font issues etc. stopping me from using it. I really wish Firefox tighten up their game.


>but throws me out of websites, unoptimized websites and font issues etc. stopping me from using it

Do you have examples of these? It's helpful to report them to the webcompat web-bugs repository as you discover them - e.g. https://github.com/webcompat/web-bugs/issues/36955 - https://webcompat.com/ has more information on the project.


Other than multi-account containers, already discussed in the top comments here, another killer firefox extension that I think is largely undiscovered is SessionSync.

I searched for a while for a decent way to deal with the "too many tabs" problem and SessionSync is where I've landed, so far anyway.

SessionSync doesn't ask you to set up an account anywhere new - it just saves tabs as bookmarks into a 'SessionSync' folder in your firefox bookmarks menu, which are then synced automatically with the rest of your firefox profile data, to any other computers or phones synced with the same profile. Even if you decided to stop using SessionSync, you'd still have access to everything using Firefox's usual bookmarks interface. It basically gives you some options that I think firefox was missing, to save and restore whole sets of tabs to ordered lists in bookmark folders rather than dealing with urls individually.

I have no affiliation with SessionSync; just wanted to mention it as one thing I really like in the firefox ecosystem. It has rough edges (e.g. no 'undo' if you save over the wrong folder accidentally, and sometimes weirdly changes the order of tabs on save), but it's the best tool I've found so far to do this sort of thing. Please let me know if you're using something as good or better though :)


People, who choose Chrome (not even Chromium) over Firefox for a fraction of a second faster load speed of some pages (, which is often even "fake" as Google artificially slows down some pages for Firefox users or engineers them in Chrome optimization specific ways,) disregarding any privacy concerns, are simply not the target group of Firefox developers, because they do not care about privacy enhancing features. To sacrifice ones rights to gain tiny speed improvements or often only the feeling of being faster – It is simply a laughable trade-off to make. Many people and even institutions of education, which should know better, choose to do so apparently.

If one is concerned about privacy and data being sent to Google using FF, well, there is always IceCat. Managed by the people, who stand most firmly for your rights in computing and software. GNU.

It is also quite well known, that Chromium and Chrome are memory hogs. One OS process per tab? Really? I've also not read anything about improvements on that front in the last many months, while at least with Quantum the FF developers aim to keep memory usage low and cores optimally used - at least in their pitch. I think Chromium has a long way to go, before it gets close to low memory usage for many tabs scenarios. As a tab hoarder and curious person, memory usage patterns like the one of Chromium are not acceptable. I am sitting on 238 tabs in IceCat right now and 33% of my 8GB RAM are in use, with several other applications, including one electron based open at the same time. No problem whatsoever to have my browser and multiple other memory intensive applications open.

The same seems infeasible with Chromium and its forks. I've seen it with double of my RAM and much less tabs on a co-worker's machine. Chrome just ate all of his RAM. I cannot remember, whether it crashed then, or he had to close the browser, to continue to work. Both are quite disruptive for getting things done.

I think FF devs have done a great job with Quantum. Unfortunately one cannot always trust Mozilla entirely (see some cases of "studies" and the money they get from Google), although they often do great work and enhance online privacy. For me it seems the better option to stay behind a shield of people, who take privacy and user rights very seriously and remove telemetry and similar things from FF and use the outcome of that.


> ...for a fraction of a second faster load speed of some pages (, which is often even "fake" as Google artificially slows down some pages for Firefox users or engineers them in Chrome optimization specific ways,) disregarding any privacy concerns...

That is false and defamatory. Chromium is noticeably faster than Firefox on a large swath of popular websites and web applications, the majority of which Google does not control; particularly on resource-constrained devices, and on Linux.

Memory usage comparisons on different machines with different pages and different other applications running are beyond meaningless. Chromium will use less memory if you don't have much, and it will use more if you have memory to spare; I'm sure Firefox will do some similar things.


It isn't entirely false, though. Google has been known to break other browsers. Of course, we can't know that it's deliberate, but… remember https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18697824?

> For example, they recently added a hidden empty div over YouTube videos that causes our [EdgeHTML's] hardware acceleration fast-path to bail (should now be fixed in Win10 Oct update). Prior to that, our fairly state-of-the-art video acceleration put us well ahead of Chrome on video playback time on battery, but almost the instant they broke things on YouTube, they started advertising Chrome's dominance over Edge on video-watching battery life.


Deactivate pre-loading of websites the website you look at links too and then talk again. Chrome uses all kind of tricks to trick you into thinking it is the faster rendering browser. Deactivate the gimmicks and then look at a comparison. There wont be much difference there. Also I'd rather have my browser have a low memory footprint, than using GBs of more RAM, just to load a page a fraction of a second faster.

Still the whole argument is laughable, because even if I saw every page a second or 2 slower, it would still be worth it, if it protects my rights online.

Also using more memory just because I have more, to the degree of using all of it, is not a good strategy. Sorry, I run other applications too, the browser is not the only contender for my RAM. I highly doubt that Firefox does anything half as aggressive with regard to memory as Chrome does, in order to "impress the user" with their speed. As I said, sitting on over 200 tabs and only using 33% of my RAM, while other applications are running too. It is not simply eating up all my memory, as I have seen Chrome doing with loads of tabs.


> Deactivate pre-loading of websites the website you look at links too and then talk again. Chrome uses all kind of tricks to trick you into thinking it is the faster rendering browser. Deactivate the gimmicks and then look at a comparison.

Why would I hobble interesting performance features of the browser just to compare it unfairly to a browser which lacks those features, or doesn't implement them properly? FWIW I have some forms of prefetch disabled, it's still faster. Chromium is in fact faster, in addition to having more of those "tricks" to hide latency.

> Still the whole argument is laughable, because even if I saw every page a second or 2 slower, it would still be worth it, if it protects my rights online.

What rights do you gain by using a Netscape fork rather than a KHTML fork? Both Mozilla and Google censor extensions and occasionally install proprietary components the user did not ask for; but Google doesn't preach about being some saintly do-gooder (and Chromium distributions with privacy and do-good claims like this are about as trustworthy as Mozilla).

> Also using more memory just because I have more, to the degree of using all of it, is not a good strategy. Sorry, I run other applications too, the browser is not the only contender for my RAM.

AFAIK it will size down when other applications allocate more memory.

> I highly doubt that Firefox does anything half as aggressive with regard to memory as Chrome does, in order to "impress the user" with their speed.

Is that... a good thing? Seems like you're spinning Firefox lacking sophistication as some sort of great advantage.

Added: If you just don't want to be attached to google services, or have the possibility to accidentally enable a google service, you can try ungoogled-chromium.


One: Ungoogled-Chromium still adds to web engine mono culture, so that wont be a good solution.

Two: I did mention GNU IceCat, for those worried about Mozilla. So all your points about "Google is not worse than Mozilla" drip off like raindrops off a raincoat.

Aside from that, I do not see Google implementing privacy enhancing features in their browser, nor do I see it happening in Ungoogled-Chromium. Mozilla developers on the other hand did provide us with some tracking protection features during the last months. So I am not buying what you are trying to sell me.


I heard that google has been shipping HTTP2 and/or HTTP3 functionality which would largely work only between the chrome client and servers which support those. That might also result in those pages appearing to load faster between different browsers.


The main reason I often use Chromium instead of Firefox is that it starts up faster.

I even wrote a oneliner to see if it is just an illusion:

http://www.gibney.de/browser_startup_speed

As can be seen in the tests, it is mainly about the startup time after a reboot. Where Chromium is way faster.

Not sure what the reason. Maybe Chromium actively caches something right during the boot? Or maybe it uses less dependencies?


How often do you realistically launch the browser? I do once per session and it's only closed to update, so I don't really care about this number. I'm sure most do similarly.


Reasons I use Firefox instead of Chrome: better customizability (both about:config and interface - for instance allows me to move tab bar under urlbar, it's more complicated than it used to be though), allows autoscroll on Linux without having to resort to buggy extension, allows to disable calls to Google/Mozilla/Cloudflare..., and finally has generally more powerful addons (even though it's worse than XUL based ones)


My reasons:

1. I feel I can trust Mozilla much more than I can trust Google.

2. I can run my own sync server for passwords, bookmarks, etc.


I wish Firefox worked well with MacOS, but even with the newest version, which was intended to fix battery issues and such, it still is vastly inferior to Chrome. Pinch to zoom still does not natively work in Firefox. Battery life still sucks compared to Chrome. Video performance lags behind, even on non-Youtube sites. I wish Firefox was significantly closer, but I still find myself limited by it at the moment.


If you think it’s inferior to Chrome – give Safari a shot. I use it all the time now because it’s so incredibly energy efficient. It also feels faster on the butt dyno in many ways than Chrome.


Using safari on macos feels like using edge on windows. you know there are supposed to be some advantages to doing so but the whole thing feels clunky and outdated comparatively


I am as happy as I could get with Firefox except for the native tab-switching Among opened tabs.

Tab search is done by typing % in the address bar followed by a keyword to search among opened tabs.

- Ctr+L to get in the address bar

- Shift+6 to type %

- space,

- type your keywords.

My fingers, especially the pinky just cannot do this, particularly switching between Ctrl and Shift. Also, you have to release Shift otherwise the space doesn’t get typed.

Please, please come up with an easier finger gymnastics to use this native feature.


A solution that works for me in all application is remapping keyboard, there are no major keyboard shortcuts I use that use Alt so what I did is this

- remap Left Alt to Ctrl

- remap Windows/Meta btn to Alt

- I also set CapsLock as Esc

So all my shortcuts, in apps, DE and IDE are suiper comfortable for me though this could suck if you have to work on a different person computer.


Not exactly what you're looking for, but you might be interested in [0].

[0] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/android/addon/tab_search/


With the Vimium extension you can type "t" to search open tabs. (And you can follow links with "f".)


I switched to Firefox when Chrome stopped working with drag-and-drop for files. It's a PITA to use tools like Google Drive without working drag and drop. Since then, I've been pleasantly surprised by Firefox Developer Edition's dev tools, and compatibility. So much innovation has been driven by the browser... hats off to Mozilla for persevering in being option b for so long.


I've taken to using both.

FF -> main browser with Noscript & and clear cookies on close. Which cripples some website, but is fine for most browsing.

Chrome -> For when priority is site working not privacy. e.g. airline checkin, banking, email etc.

Plus obv all the usual pihole etc.

Currently the best compromise I've managed on blocking sketchy stuff while not going full stallman email myself articles.


I read somewhere that Chrome will be adding DoH (DNS over HTTPS) and I'm not sure if it's some experimental flag you toggle. I imagine they will be using 8.8.8.8 (which supports DoH). So now you are sending all your personal data to Google instead of Cloudflare :o But you can always use another DoH provider if you dislike Google or Cloudflare[0]

I imagine any browser worth its salt will eventually switch over to DoH as the default as time goes on, as it's a great feature even though it doesn't honor the /hosts file or honor pi-hole[1] configured routers, it's still a great feature to have.

[0] https://github.com/curl/curl/wiki/DNS-over-HTTPS

[1] https://pi-hole.net/


> I imagine they will be using 8.8.8.8 [...] now you are sending all your personal data to Google

You shouldn't guess/imagine something and then build your opinion on it. IIRC, Chrome will continue to use your configured nameservers and only use DoH if it's in a whitelist of known implementers.


Since you can configure which DoH server your browser uses, I would guess Pi-Hole is going to implement (or already has) a DoH server of its own that will use configurable upstream DoH.


> I imagine any browser worth its salt will eventually switch over to DoH as the default as time goes on

Any browser which wants to be banned by AD group-policies in big organisations, sure.


I've ditched Chrome completely in favor of Firefox (desktop and mobile). I've been surprised about Firefox's speed, but not in a good way... After all the hype I've been seeing about Firefox getting faster I've been disappointed by how sluggish it feels on my system (Linux, 20 CPUs, 32GB RAM -- yes, this is my personal dev machine :D). Chrome is still faster, but I'm sticking to FF because I believe in their mission.


I want to use Firefox, and I would if it provided a faster internet experience, which it doesn't on Linux (compared to Brave/Chromium/Chrome). The devtools in Firefox lack basic features that have been requested for years. Too bad that these are the only viable options.


Which basic devtools features are you missing, if I might ask?


simple things, like being able change the order of the columns in the network tab


I just checked the bug database, and this has never been filed as an issue, for what it's worth. The closest to it was the offhand mention in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1509560 which otherwise focused on column resizing.

I filed https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1595961 just now to track this, but I have a hard time reconciling this specific example with the "requested for years" characterization in the original comment...

If you are able to file issues you run into, that would be much appreciated; people can't fix problems they're not aware of.


This post actually made me switch to Firefox. The set up process was very smooth. Importing all my settings from Chrome just worked. I feel safer already.

Is it just me or does the scrolling feel a bit different in Firefox? I am running Firefox on a Macbook from 2019 using the touch pad.

Thanks OP!


Very happy to see your message, thank you! When I saw Firefox so low on the browser market share list (4% only), my intention was to write something that may get a person or two to give it a chance. It deserves it as it brings so much value. Thank you again.


I was also kind of shocked about how low that number is because most of my family and friends use Firefox, but most probably I live in a self inflicted bubble because I tell everyone to use Firefox instead when I see that they don't.


Yeah, scrolling is still pretty bad, and high cpu usage in youtube/twitch.


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